Restaurante el cardenal (centro,) mexico city mx _ endo edibles

Sweet Cream Turnover, Corn Muffin, Chocolate Croissant, Fig and Coconut Danish

Huevos Rancheros a Caballo – Eggs, Beef Tenderloin, Fried Tortillas with Hot Red Sauce and Refried Beans

Chicharron en Salsa Verde – Deep Fried Pork Rind covered with Green Sauce and Epazote

Enchiladas Michoacanas – Rolled Corn Tortillas stuffed with minced Chicken Breast covered in Guajillo Chili Mole, Radishes, Onions and Fresh Cheese with Refried Beans

Serving Mexico City since 1969, the downtown ‘Centro’ location considered to be a destination restaurant for traditional Mexican cuisine amongst locals at tourists alike, Restaurante El Cardenale was planned as the first Breakfast during an eight day stay in city, the lack of weekend reservations, an English-friendly Online menu and a seating policy that still makes no sense combining with uneven cooking making for a rather disappointing experience.

Told by phone that the three-story space opens at 9:00am and that “early is good, to pass the line,” it was just after 8:45 that two lined up along with several others outside locked doors that immediately opened as church bells exclaimed the hour, a few patrons immediately preceding upstairs while the rest gave their name to a hostess at the podium – no timeframe given, but at first an agreeable situation as a team of at least twenty Chefs could be witnessed working in an immense kitchen behind glass in plain view of the foyer.

Happy to see free Coffee provided for those in wait, though the presence of grounds in the brew was not ideal, it was not long before the waiting area was filled with a small queue out the door before the first name on the list was called, the next unfortunately not occurring until nearly twenty minutes later when two more patrons ascended up the elevator.

Perplexed and inquisitive, questions about the delay answered only by the hostess reciting each party’s place on the wait list, it was finally at 9:52 that our duo’s name was called, a quick trip up the stained-glass shaft showing both the second and third floor completely full – where all those diners had come from still unknown – the waiter literally ignoring the question as bilingual Breakfast menus were handed off, followed by a man carrying a half-dozen types of Bread that are *not* complimentary and another with the restaurant’s signature Hot Chocolate, rapidly ground and mixed tableside before being poured into an awaiting glass.

Certainly not an expensive place, though the upcharge for items presented before ordering appeared to be an issue for a party of four to the left, it was after short perusal and a few questions that an order was made, free Rolls with Butter preceding the arrival of three plates including Huevos Rancheros a Caballo that were a bit too watery to be enjoyed completely, the Red Sauce appropriately spiced but the Tenderloin itself underportioned and stringy without a lot of flavor.

Enjoying a Fig and Coconut Cream Danish, the Corn Muffin and the Sweet Cream Turnover merely decent while the Chocolate Croissant contained even less Cocoa that it did evidence of proofing, better bites amongst the savories included tender Pig Skins cooked in Green Chili, despite clearly requesting Rojo, as well as Enchiladas Michoacanas, the only Mole offered on the early-day menu a rich and smoky concoction poured over Corn Tortillas rolled around gritty minced Chicken.

Finding both refried Beans and those in a bowl with acid and Herbs to be quite tasty, to this point the only item enjoyed equally by both present, it was just as the server was about to drop the bill that an inquiry was made about postre, the menu not given but online photos making it easy to inquire about specifics, both the Flan y Cajeta and Pastel Tres Leches arriving a few moments later and essentially saving the experience, the former eggy with small pockets of air creating a great texture while the second was served sopping wet and extra sweet with a very thin layer of Frosting atop a dense crumb made from a mix of Cornmeal and White Flour – the total bill another saving grace as everything including tax and tip cost a shade under $30USD.

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